Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Dialogue About Abortion: A Final Statement

I’m formally closing the dialogues with Jim in Cleveland partially because the action has moved back to the comments in the adoption thread and partially because my friend Spub (who I’m outing as a friend) has taken up the debate with Jim.

While I didn’t think that the discussion would solve the division between us, I am a bit disappointed that we never could get beyond “think of the women!” “think of the children!” dynamic that always ends up happening.

But because it’s my blog I’m going to give myself the last word. This is the account from an abortion counselor at Abortion Clinic Days. I think it speaks for all the reasons why one should be pro-choice. “Choice” as in you have to let individual women figure their answers out for themselves on this issue.

This past week I counseled a woman whom I'll call LaTisha, aged 37. Her description of what "lost" meant to her had more to do with denial of her husband's drug addiction, lying, stealing. They had just had a baby this summer and that, combined with what she described as constant personal chaos as well as chaos in the home, having to go back to work almost immediately after the baby was born to cover her husband's car crashes, money thefts had left her in a state of just mopping up one disaster after another. Becoming pregnant again so soon made her realize that she was ruining her life and possibly her child's too by trying to make it work. In the process, LaTisha said, she had lost herself and was losing sight of her goals.

Life, she said, was "happening to her" rather than being under her control. Her time and energy were usurped by trying to find out the truth (was he using or not using drugs, did he or did he not steal the money, the jewelry). Between that and caring for her newborn and working, she said that she herself barely existed. Because she was not paying attention to herself, she said, she sometimes missed her birth control pills, made mistakes at work and was generally not taking care of herself. But suddenly, when she found herself pregnant again so soon after delivery, she had to stop and think about where she was, where she wanted to be, and what needed to be done. She said that once she sat and thought about all she had been through and how caught up she was in trying to deny to herself the severity of their problems, she realized that all that she had worked for could come crashing down on her. She could lose her home, her job, or the support of her family who had been telling her what they heard on the street about her husband. Eventually she decided to have the abortion on Saturday and tell him to leave on Sunday.

I commented on how calm, how at peace, she seemed as she was telling me this story. Ah, she said, that's because I am no longer lost. I have found myself again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I know you are giving yourself the last word, but I'd like to add one or two more thoughts.

One, the story you tell is certainly an odd one. The woman clearly needs to end the relationship with the guy, then "magically" becomes pregnant, as if this is something that just happens to a woman. I think there were a number of other routes for the woman to go here (dare I suggest that this woman would do well to add religion to her life?). Pro-choicers like to accuse pro-lifers of writing off the situation after the baby is born--this story ends happily (except for the baby), but has no follow up. I wonder how this woman who has had this epiphany will feel about this later in life.

Two, while our dialogue seems to have ended abruptly, I would like to thank Newscat for allowing me the space to give my opinions. I believe that this type of debate is crucial, and that too often people of both sides throw up their hands and hold fast to the notion that the two sides will never agree on anything. That is called bigotry, and I cannot accuse Newscat of that.

I don't believe it is about women versus children--as Mother Theresa said (damn that pro-life side with their religion!), three quarters of the victims of abortion are female--half the children and all the women. She also said this:

"But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child - a direct killing of the innocent child - murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love - that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion. "

Rachel, thanks again for giving me space to present my side.

Jim in Cleveland